Sharkie's Machine: Juan Diaz by Unanimous Decision over Paulie Malignaggi - Robbery at Toyota Center!
By Frank Gonzalez Jr. exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (Aug 23, 2009)  
Robbery, Saturday night in Houston. Light Welterweight contender/prospect and former titlist, Juan Diaz (35-2, 17 KO’s) enjoyed the spotlight, a one sided supportive crowd and favorable officiating when he faced Paulie Malignaggi (26-3, 5 KO’s) at the Toyota Center . Toyota may make a good car but the Judges at the Toyota Center made the winner into the loser in a fight that wasn’t all that hard to score. Boxing is about hitting and not being hit. There are criteria for scoring, which includes clean, effective punching, ring generalship and defense. Malignaggi did better in all three areas in more of the rounds from what I saw but as expected, he wouldn’t get a fair shake in Houston against Juan Diaz, and he didn’t.

Paulie Malignaggi brought his ‘A game’ to Houston, he out boxed Diaz, making him miss often while dictating the tempo with his jab and little pity pat punches that don’t hurt, but do score points. But in boxing, the scoring of points often depends on things conspired outside of the ring. Malignaggi accounted for the most damage done in this fight, opening a nasty cut over Diaz left eye with his jab, which was the story of this fight. He used it effectively throughout the fight, tagging Diaz repeatedly but since they aren’t hard shots, maybe the Judges didn’t notice them. Malignaggi sustained no noticeable damage after 12 rounds were in the books. But it didn’t matter what Malignaggi had done, short of a knockout…the books were cooked.

Both guys came into this fight having lost two of their last three, both against top fighters. Diaz and Malignaggi were in the same boat. Only this boat was in Houston and though Paulie Malignaggi was on it, everything was rigged for him to sink. The ring was small sized, favoring the aggressive Diaz and the Judges included, Gale Van Hoy and Raul Caiz, two men Malignaggi openly criticized as being stooges for Golden Boy Promotions. That, with Oscar and his boys sitting by ringside. Insurance company, Lawrence Cole, was the referee.

Both needed this win to prevent the slippage in the non existent rankings, that shift and change depending on which way the money blows, for reasons unexplained or no reason at all. The wrong guy got the win Saturday night and boxing again demonstrates exactly why it is probably the most ignored sport in this era.

The fight started with Malignaggi showing great speed and popping his jab repeatedly. Diaz looked like a baby bull in a china shop, only missing a lot. Diaz did land one punch, just after the bell; that opened a cut near Paulie’s left eye. I thought Malignaggi easily out boxed Diaz to win the first.

But the tides turned in the second round, when Diaz charged forward and managed to land a few shots in spots and forced Malignaggi to run. This was one of Diaz’ best rounds as he landed the cleaner shots and forced Paulie to play keep away. With about five seconds left, Malignaggi landed a right that opened a cut over Diaz’ left eye. His corner immediately yelled, “Head butt!” But even referee, Lawrence Cole missed that head butt—since there was no head butt. Diaz won the second and went on to win the third round by being aggressive and catching Malignaggi with some good shots that did more damage than what was coming back.

The fourth round was even on my card though because both had good moments in turn and did about as much, with Malignaggi winning the jabbing contest and Diaz, using his strength to pressure Malignaggi into running. But Malignaggi popping that jab while he was running and scoring points escaped the Judges notice.

Malignaggi took over with superior mobility and boxing skills from round five through six but Diaz took over the momentum in the seventh, landing a few good shots to the body and fighting hard with blood dripping into his eye from the cut.

The momentum shifted again towards Malignaggi in rounds eight, nine, ten and eleven as he simply out boxed and landed more than Diaz, who was getting sloppier by the moment as the final round approached.

In the final round, Malignaggi opened with a left hook and Diaz answered with a left, right combo. Malignaggi jabbed his way around the desperate Diaz. Diaz landed a left hook to the body that had to hurt, followed by a left to the face. Malignaggi out boxed him in the final moments, as the frustrated Diaz was unable to close the show. But it wouldn’t matter.

The official scores were, Gale Van Hoy- 118-110 for Diaz.

Raul Caiz had it; 115-113 for Diaz and Sutherland had it 116-112 for Diaz. Diaz was named the winner by Unanimous Decision. Congratulations to Juan Diaz for having powerful people behind him.


In the end, after the scores, Diaz celebrated and Malignaggi looked like a man who just got robbed. It’s a look you see often when visiting fighters go to Texas to fight Diaz or Rocky Juarez.

During the post fight interview, Diaz credited Malignaggi for being a great fighter and mentioned how he fought well even though he suffered a nasty cut over his eye. He said he’d like a rematch with Juan Manual Marquez, regardless the outcome vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. He asked the fans to give Malignaggi a round of applause, which drew a mixed reaction of cheers and jeers from the crowd.

When Malignaggi was interviewed, he wasn’t shy about expressing his feelings. He asked the interviewer, Max Kellerman, how HBO scored the fight and Kellerman said Harold Lederman scored it seven rounds to five in favor of Malignaggi. Then Malignaggi said, “At least someone got the score right.”

Malignaggi continued…I don’t know why Houston is booing me? I have nothing against you guys, you’re good fans, and you make a lot of noise. I don’t blame the crowd but I had to go through a lot of politics. It’s ridiculous! Raul Caiz is Golden Boy’s gofer—and HE had the closest scorecard. This state never gives a fair shake to anyone coming to fight here.”

Max posed another question, starting with “Assuming you don’t get a rematch with Diaz…” and Malignaggi cut him off saying, “You KNOW I won’t get a rematch! Boxing is full of shit! Diaz can call out Marquez or Mayweather but I don’t have that luxury because I’m just an ‘opponent’ after losing this fight. Congratulations Houston , you have a great warrior champion but I won this fight.”

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